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Cuban architecture

Food & Drink

Cuban caters well for the international visitors. For foreigners, the food can only be paid in Cuban Convertible Pesos. This means that some of the country?s best food supply is served for the hotels and restaurants in order to maintain the high level of income for the Cuban economy. However much of the food produced is also exported to bring even more cash into circulation for the rest of the country. This cash will be then used to buy important supplies that Cuba cannot produce for itself.

Cuban cuisine

Cuban cuisine is influenced by Spanish, African and Chinese way of cooking. The Spanish introduced root vegetables, rice and beef and some of their own regional dishes. West Africans introduced yams and tropical vegetables and the Chinese taught the locals how to use the produce and prepare unusual meals.

“Creole” cooking is very popular throughout the country, although at the times it can be difficult to get all of the spices. It uses pork steaks with yams, rice and beans (either kidney or black), and is flavored with a variety of spices.

The national dish is ajiaco, a stew of assorted root vegetables cooked with pork, poultry or beef. Other typical dishes are lechón (roast pork), fried green plantains (tachinos, chatinos or tostones), black beans, congrí (rice with red beans), moros y cristianos (rice with black beans), and picadillo a la habanera (ground beef in tomato sauce), roast chicken and tamales among others. The Cuban sweet tooth ensures that each meal includes dessert.

A very typical Cuban meal would be a salad (lettuce, tomato, beetroot and sliced cold carrot) or a plate of fruit (sliced orange, grapefruit and mango when in season) to start. This would be followed by large plates put in the middle of the table, so that everyone can help themselves. Usually black beans and rice, fried bananas, and the center plate of the meat. This would generally be pork, chicken or steak, but always cooked with plenty of garlic. The dessert is often very sweet.

Vegetarians are no so well catered for except in the hotel buffets, where is always a good selection. If waiters or chefs know the food s you can or cannot eat, they may even prepare a special plate especially for you.

As a nation surrounded by the sea, there is a wide selection of fish and shellfish available in most of the restaurants. The word to look for is “pescado” (fish), however it refers to whatever has been caught that day and you?ll rarely see the actual name of the type of fish. “Langosta” (lobster) and „camarones” (prawn) are common in the waters around us but are still quite a pricey dish, but nowhere near as expensive as back home.

Drinks

You will discover during your holiday that the Cubans produce a lot of their own drinks. The local beers are very good and the main brands are: Cristal, Mayabe and Bucanero. They also produce specialty cacao, orange and coffee liqueurs. ´Tropicola ´ is a local brand of coke, used a lot in Cuba Libre cocktails. When you are out in tours it will be possible to try some fresh sugar cane juice or coconut milk.

The Cubans drink coffee in tiny cups and prefer it sweet, strong and not too hot.
The quality of Cuban rum is recognized internationally and comes in four distillations: refined, white, gold and aged. Gold and aged rums are better for drinking straight, while white rum (carta Blanca or carta Plata) is best for cocktails. Several of the world?s most famous rum cocktails are Cuban, and are served in most bars around the globe. Drinks include the Cuba Libre, the Mojito, the Daiquiri, the Cubanito and the Saoco.

Apparently there are some 69 cocktails that can be made using Havana Club Rum.


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